After a long week of icy, snowy weather with sub zero temperatures, it was time to get out for a quick trip over to Percy Priest Lake. I was only there for a few minutes, but did manage to snap a few close ups of the American Coot which inhabits the area. These birds are oftentimes called 'Mud Hens' and while most people believe they are ducks, they aren't. They are actually in a distinct order of birds called Rallidae.
Several Coots came up on the shoreline which allowed me a chance to view them up close. These birds are hard to photograph well in water as they have such dark bodies and jet black heads. Their dark red eyes blend right into their heads. The only distinct markings are their white beaks and strangely bright green legs and toes which are scaled and lobed so they can be folded back for walking on dry land. The males have a larger ruff on their head than females.
You will find Coots all over North America and even as far south as Panama. Coots live around wetlands and large bodies of water and prefer areas where the water is sluggish. They eat algae, aquatic plants, vertebrates and invertebrates. In other words, they eat almost everything.
These past few weeks the weather has been less than desirable here in Tennessee, however, I am holding out hope as I believe we have slightly warmer temperatures and some sun predicted for the upcoming week, and might I add no real major storms to speak of. I hope this finds you safe and warm and with fairer weather wherever you are. ENJOY!